WORDS & IMAGE: KATE WEINER
It's been a weird & heart-wrenching few days. Trump's decision to leave the Paris Accord has been one of the most violent attacks from our federal government on our collective right to life. It makes me furious that many of our federal representatives are continuing to promote policies that will accelerate climate crisis across the world and further threaten the lives of people of color in climate vulnerable communities. It's f*cked up. It's unfair. And it's not something that any one of us can abide by.
It's okay to be angry. The U.S. is one of the biggest contributors to climate change on our planet; by refusing to take federal action, Trump is sowing the seeds for climate chaos and social injustice throughout the world.
It's important, however, to understand what's really going on (herewith, a helpful summary of what actually happened) and to use this major misstep as an opportunity to affirm the growing power of the people. Don't let Trump knock you to the ground. I know, I know—easier said than done. But the fight for an international call to arms against climate catastrophe is far from over. The resistance has been making major gains, communities have been activating incredible change, and folks across the world have been inspired to act passionately and persistently toward building a better world.
In the spirit of finding opportunity in catastrophe, here are three ways to rise up in the aftermath of this disastrous challenge to international diplomacy.
SUPPORT THE GROWING COALITION OF CLIMATE ADVOCATES
In the aftermath of Trump's decision, more than 200 city mayors, state governors, companies, and university presidents are working to submit a plan to the U.N. that will help America continue to mitigate climate catastrophe. This signals a major shift from relying on our federal government to protect us (a dead end if there ever was one) toward catalyzing change from the private sector.
There are many ways to be a part of this movement. You can participate in any one of the powerful OFF Fossil Fuels events that Food & Water Watch is coordinating across the country; you can join your local Citizens' Climate Lobby chapter to learn how you can advocate for your own city to be a part of this independent body of climate advocates; and you can send messages of support through 350 to those countries and communities that are continuing to fight the good fight.
CREATE YOUR PERSONAL CARBON-REDUCTION PLAN
The power to catalyze change is truly with the people. For too long, we have fought for the federal government to create the kind of radical policies our world needs if we do not want to lose land and lives to climate catastrophe. And as important as it is to activate federal change, we have to bring that work on home. We need to act in alignment with our values and be vigilant about embodying hope in our everyday lives. We need to ignite change within our hearts and homes.
Inspired by Mark Trahant's recent essay in Yes! Magazine, I'm taking time today to create my own carbon-reduction plan. It's a personal Paris Accord that I hope will provide me with a tangible roadmap for continuing to slash my carbon footprint and cultivate regeneration and resiliency within my life.
Trump's tone-deaf policies stand in defiance of the far more powerful market forces that are driving renewable energy from the margins to the mainstream. Continue to nurture divestment from fossil fuels at home and across our country by moving your money from major banks into credit unions, investing in community-owned solar and wind projects through companies such as Arcadia Power, and challenging higher institutions to invest in green technology and living economies. As Valeria Costa, Alec Connon, and Emily Johnston write in this practical essay: "To stop the flow of oil, we need to stop the flow of dollars."
This is an end only if we let it be. Continue to resist, loamy loves, and to remember the power within you.